Deer are such wonderful animals! I saw these deer while on my trip to South Dakota (Custer State Park), and Wyoming at Yellowstone National Park, this past June. Basically I’d spot the deer but they would spot or hear the vehicle and flee. Usually when trying to photograph deer, one has to be very quiet and still or be far away.
Many of these deer were very young adults. The males shed their antlers yearly and grow a new pair. These deer are Mule Deer. I saw deer in the Custer State Park of South Dakota and again in Yellowstone National Park. The trio of young bucks were spotted while I was on a guided bus tour to the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park. I recommend this late afternoon and early evening tour, called the Wildlife Tour to Lamar Valley. It is a large group bus tour but you do see many animals and there are opportunities to get out of the bus for rest stops and picture-taking. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Marmots, a Jack Rabbit, Prairie Dogs, and a Golden Mantle Ground Squirrel were all recently spotted in South Dakota and in Wyoming. I snapped these pictures of various (really cute) rodents while on my vacation in Custer State Park, South Dakota and in the magnificent Yellowstone National Park. I saw what looks like a Snow-shoe Hare (?) in its Summer fur at our campground in Hill City, South Dakota. There were plenty of perky Prairie Dogs along the Wildlife Loop Road in Custer State Park. I enjoyed seeing those a lot!
A very swift and oh-so-cute, Golden Mantle Ground Squirrel (the chipmunk-looking rodent) was seen scurrying back and forth on the rocks and trail at one of the overlooks at the Yellowstone National Park’s canyon and Yellowstone Falls. The last little critters I photographed, were a pair of sweet Yellow-belly Marmots that were quite interested in what I was up to. All are furry, beautiful little animals and quite photogenic! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Wild Burros or wild Donkeys which are descendants of miner’s pack animals from the 19th and early 20th Centuries, were happily occupying the roadway at the beautiful and really special Custer State Park in South Dakota. These animals seem to love visiting with the tourists (I think many people have fed them – but not me)!
The Burros cause safe but sometimes lengthy traffic jams when they congregate on the road itself. Sometimes I saw about eight Burro’s on the road or next to it. Some are quite young. They are cute and pretty safe – but do not depend on these animals being “tame”. I took these pictures on June 9, 2014, and again on June 11, 2014 in Custer State Park along the “Wildlife Loop Road”. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
These Pronghorns were spotted in the gorgeous Custer State Park, a South Dakota state park near Custer, S. Dakota. We drove along the “Wildlife Loop Road” in the large park. These deer or elk-like herd animals are not antelope as many people have referred to them as. There were several small groups of the handsome large Pronghorn roaming free (this is not a zoo), along the road and off in the distance. These are grazing animals that eat grass and grains. The males have a distinctive set of “Pronged” horns , which in my mind, resemble a cross between antlers and horns.
I took these pictures on June 11, 2014 in the park. I also later saw several Pronghorn in Yellowstone National Park the next week. There additionally were many sightings along the highways in South Dakota and in Wyoming. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. By the way, in the next few blog series, I will be highlighting various wildlife seen while I was out West in South Dakota and Wyoming. I hope you will enjoy seeing the photographs I took.
Since not much is happening as far as wildlife here at home, I will go back to my travel pictures from last month’s journey. I took these pictures of Bluebirds, I believe them to be Mountain Bluebirds, in the yards of the Visitor’s Center in the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. The park is oh, so beautiful, and so were these birds. I did not see many birds in that park because it is a rocky and very dry area. I mainly saw Bluebirds, Ravens, and a few Hawks here and there. The picture of the Bluebird on the top of the parking sign struck me as funny. I was happy to take the pictures of the lively birds.
Like the Eastern Bluebirds, these birds eat insects. The Mountain Bluebirds are a little slimmer, duller in color, and a tiny bit smaller overall than the Eastern Bluebirds. This small flock of Bluebirds were flitting all around the cedar and pine trees and the bushes and grass trying to catch their dinner of bugs. The Visitor’s Center had a well-watered lawn and shrubs so, there may have been a better opportunity there for the birds to thrive. I had a great time in the Badlands and think it is a super neat place. I highly recommend it as a day trip from the Mitchell, South Dakota area. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy! P.S. I have included several shots of the scenery without wildlife just because I enjoyed the beauty of the place so much.
Wild Burros or Donkeys, cute little barking Prairie Dogs, Wolves, Pronghorn Antelope, Tundra Swans, Beavers, and majestic Elk were some of the wild animals and birds that I saw and photographed on my recent trip to the Plains states. I took the pictures of the Pronghorn, and the Burrows or Donkeys in South Dakota’s gem of a state park, the Custer State Park. The Burros are descendants of those used by the old gold miners of the Nineteenth Century and do roam freely. I shot the picture of the little Prairie Dog at the Prairie Homestead Park just outside of The Badlands National Park, also in South Dakota.
The Tundra Swans were seen on the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park, as was the Beaver. I photographed the Elk in the Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park and also got the picture of the Wolf there as well. The Wolves were mostly behind a low ridge and were just out of sight when I was there taking the picture. This one individual Wolf was ahead of the others and I was thrilled to get the picture. I saw many Elk in Yellowstone National Park and just missed taking a picture of a huge bull Elk with a fine rack of antlers (my camera was not out and we were in the car when the Elk crossed the road).
This wraps up my series of pictures taken during my recent trip this month. Tomorrow I will be showing pictures from my own lake at home. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy! P. S. Sorry about the alignment of the pictures. That sometimes happens when I put on the captions. One day I will learn how to do the process without the odd positioning of the pictures : )
Swans (I think they are Tundra Swans?)
American Pronghorn Antelope
Recently, I had an amazing opportunity to visit several National Parks and State Parks in the Great Plains. During the trip I took a number of pictures of Bison. There were large numbers of Buffalo in the Custer State Park in South Dakota and also in the Yellowstone National Park in the Hayden Valley area. I was so amazed that the buffalo seemed to just enjoy walking along the highway on the pavement among the cars! Of course, the big animals do have the right-of-way in the park areas. The buffalo often tie up traffic as they stand or walk along roads in the parks. The Rangers in Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley area actually encourage the Bison to move off the road by using recorded grunts that are played out of the windows of the Ranger’s cars!
I also was totally shocked to find that a small group of about forty or so of the buffalo were trotting through the Fishing Bridge Trailer Park campground in Yellowstone National Park early one evening at twilight. This appearance of buffalo in the campground is highly unusual. I heard the Bison before I poked my head out of my trailer and had a look. I was amazed to see the herd trotting along both the last small roadway in the campground (about 10 feet behind my trailer) and in the forest at the edge of the campground. During the trip I also got to see Bison fording or crossing the Yellowstone River. That was really interesting to see. The very young bulls also were testing each other and play-fighting by butting heads.
So I managed to get to see a lot of big buffalo in a safe and enjoyable way. I took these pictures between Sept. 3-10, 2011 in Custer State Park and in Yellowstone National Park. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!